Jason Betz is hard at work examining catfish. In particular, he’s looking for traces of a kind of antibiotic that’s given to farm-raised fish to keep them healthy, but which can cause problems if ingested later by fish-eating humans. So it falls to Jason, his Alvernia chemistry degree in hand, to make sure the drugs have filtered completely out of the creatures’ systems before they find their way to your dinner table.
It’s all part of the new job Jason landed just two months after graduating from Alvernia with Adpen Laboratories, a Jacksonville, Florida, R&D company that analyzes food, pharmaceuticals, and other products to make sure they’re safe.
Jason is thrilled with the job, though he was initially a little surprised he got it, since jobs at his level typically go to college grads with at least a year of full-time work experience under their belts.
But Adpen was impressed by the kind of education Jason got in Alvernia’s classrooms and chemistry labs, impressed by his internship with a Reading pharmacy, impressed by his experience working with advanced science instruments, and impressed by the independent research he did on substance abuse. So they hired him.
“In chemistry, it’s all about your lab technique,” Jason says. “At Alvernia I learned how to do chemistry properly and efficiently. I learned to work at a quick pace and think ahead. I was always thinking, what’s the next big step?”
Jason isn’t sure what the next big step in his career will be, though he expects grad school is in the cards down the road. For now, he’s already ahead of where he thought he’d be only a few months after graduating, and that suits him just fine.
“I’m just happy where I am right now,” he says. “This is a good experience.”